Retail behemoth Wal-Mart’s (s WMT) move to require disclosure of environmental data for all of its products helped tip the nascent carbon software market into the hot zone this summer, as companies prepped for a wave of new business from Wal-Mart’s suppliers. Today, less than two months after that announcement, Menlo Park, Calif.-based Hara says it has raised another $14 million to help it race to the top with its software-as-a-service carbon, energy and resource management product.
Founded just last year, Hara has built a tool for companies and municipalities to itemize and track all inputs such as water, electricity and chemicals, as well as outputs, including greenhouse gases, wastewater and the product itself. The company already raised a Series A of $6 million from Kleiner Perkins (Hara CEO Amit Chatterjee says he pitched Kleiner investor and former Vice President Al Gore), so this latest round, led by JAFCO Ventures and including Nth Power and Kleiner, brings the company’s total funds raised to $20 million.
In contrast with many other carbon and energy management software tools, which focus solely on carbon and electricity and leave out the last step of prescribing ways that the company can tweak its business to become more efficient, Chatterjee has told us users can also get suggestions for how to optimize the overall system, enabling them to save substantial money and reduce waste.
The strategy seems to be working, and Hara came out of stealth mode in May with Coca Cola and the city of Palo Alto, Calif., as customers, and the company says it has also signed up a dozen other unnamed customers. Chatterjee told us there are three types of customers that will most benefit from Hara’s tool: power companies (oil, natural gas, etc.) that are spending millions on energy, companies with deep supply chains like a Dell (s DELL) or a Wal-Mart, and public sectors that are looking to meet and implement mandates.
With Wal-Mart’s attention and a proposal for cap-and-trade legislation going before the Senate this year, carbon management software is a hot commodity — which means there will be plenty of competition. Startup Clear Standards was bought by SAP recently and had raised $4 million from Novak Biddle Venture Partners and Kinetic Ventures back in November 2008. Burlingame, Calif.-based Planet Metrics has raised $2.3 million in Series A funding from Draper Fisher Jurvetson. And Carbonetworks, an older player selling software and services to help companies reduce their carbon footprint, raised $5 million in funding from NGEN in the middle of last year. Here are 10 carbon management players you should know.